The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Honorius I (625-638)
636 (II)


(1) 1. GIOVANNI (beginning of the 7th century-642)

Birth. At the beginning of the 7th century, Salonia (or in Zadar), Dalmatia (now Croatia). Son of Venantius, member of the Byzantine administration, who was a scholasticus, a functionary who assisted the exarch of Italy in legal matters.

Education. Initial studies in Salonia or in Ravenna. He was considered "... un uomo molto colto (1).

Cardinalate. Deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church in 636. At the time, the age to become a deacon was at least thirty years. Archdeacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church (?).

Papacy. Elected pope in August 640. Took the name John IV. While awaiting for the imperial confirmation, the see of Rome was governed by an archdeacon (Giovanni, the pope-elect), an archpriest (Ilario) and a primicerius (Giovanni), according to tradition. While he still was pope-elect, he wrote a letter to the Irish bishops and abbots in England censuring Pelagianism as well as the Celtic custom of celebrating Easter on the day of the Jewish Passover. He was consecrated the following December 24. His election may have been influenced by Exarch Isaac hoping that the new pope would be malleable in the thorny question concerning monothelism (1). In January 641, he celebrated a Roman Synod in which monothelism was condemned and the late Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople, ishop Cyrus of Alexandria and Pyrrhus, then patriarch of Constantinople, supporters and propagators of the doctrine, were anathematized. The emperor, shortly before his death on February 11, 641, wrote a letter to the pope disavowing monothelism and blaming the late Patriarch Sergius for it. Later, Pope John IV wrote to Patriarch Pyrrhus indicating that he did not accept the ekthesis (decree) published by Emperor Heraclius I in 638 because it asserted that there was only one will in Christ. Pope John IV in a letter to the new Emperor Constantine III, explained in precise terms the doctrine of two natures and will of Christ; and also upheld the orthodoxy of Pope Honorius I concerning monothelism (Apologia di Onorio). In the meantime, Emperor Constantine III was assassinated, and the same end had his brother and successor Heraclius II in a popular uprising that led Constans II to the imperial throne. It was he who responded to the pope assuring him that would destroy the Ekthesis and defend orthodoxy. Both statements were in fact false. Pope John IV addressed a letter to the monks of Italy and France reaffirming their right to present their priests in all the official ceremonies.

There are few more details of Pope John IV's pontificate. He fully occupied himself with the problems of his countrymen in Dalmatia. He sent Abbot Martin with a number of funds to redeem them from the slavery in which they found themselves under the Slavs and the Avars. Abbot Martin also brought to Rome the relics of several Dalmatian martyrs. Dalmatia was in his heart, in fact he dedicated to its patron, S. Venancio, of which his father bore the name, a chapel in the baptistery of the Lateran basilica. In the chapel are still visible mosaics depicting the four evangelists and eight martyrs of Salona, in the basin are represented among others the two popes, John IV and his successor Theodore I, who completed the construction of the chapel. The pope wanted to tie Rome with the strongest ties with his homeland, which was the victim of the raids of the barbarians. The war in northern Italy between the lombard king, Rotari, and the exarch of Ravenna, did not affect Rome during his time. During his pontificate, he ordained 18 bishops, 18 priests and 5 deacons.

Death. October 12, 642, Rome. He left a year's stipend to each of the clergy upon his death. Buried in porticu pontificum in St. Peter's basilica, Rome. His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bibliography. Beck, Henry G. J. "John IV, pope." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, 7, 1008; Berto, Luigi Andrea. "Giovanni IV." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 592-594; Boxich, Costantino. Biografia del Sommo Pontifice Giovanni IV nato a Zara descritta del P.M.R. Costantino Boxich, M.O., dedicata all'Illust. e reverend. monsignor Giovanni Battista Vitezich vescovo di Veglia. Zara : Tipografia fratelli Battara, 1855; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiae usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii Ord. Praed. & aliorum opera descriptæ : cum uberrimis notis. Ab Augustino Oldoino, Soc. Jesu recognitae, et ad quatuor tomos ingenti ubique rerum accessione productae. Additis Pontificum recentiorum imaginibus, & Cardinalium insignibus, plurimisque aeneis figuris, cum indicibus locupletissimis. Romæ : P. et A. De Rubeis, 1677, I, col. 447-450; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVII; Detoni, Sereno. Giovanni IV. Papa dalmata. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006; Ekonomou, Andrew J. Byzantine Rome and the Greek popes. Eastern influence on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752. Lanham : Lexington Books, 2007, p. 95-98; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 144, no. 2; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 72-73; Le Liber pontificalis. Paris : E. de Boccard, 1981, 1955. 3 v. : facsims. (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome). Notes: Reprint of the 1955 edition./ Includes indexes./ Vol. 3: "Additions et corrections de L. Duchesne publiées par Cyrille Vogel ... avec L'Histoire du Liber pontificalis dupuis l'édition de L. Duchesne une bibliographie et des tables générales, I, 330; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 121, no. 72; Petruzzi, Caterina. "Giovanni IV, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 531; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 53; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 227-228; Rota, Luciano "I Papi Caio e Giovanni IV", in Francesco Semi ; Vanni Tacconi. Istria e Dalmazia : uomini e tempi (2 vols. Udine : Del Bianco editore, 1991-1992. Contents: [1]. Istria e Fiume -- [2]. Dalmazia), p.67-68; Sacrorum conciliorum nova, et amplissima collectio : in qua praeter ea quae Phil. Labbeus, et Gabr. Cossartius S.J. et novissime Nicolaus Coleti in lucem edidere ea omnia insuper suis in locis optime disposita exhibentur, quae Joannes Dominicus Mansi lucensis, congregationis matris dei evulgavit. Editio novissima ab eodem Patre Mansi .... Paris : H. Welter, 1901-1927. 54 v. in 57, X, 608-609.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, in English, Popes through the Ages; biography, in English, The Lives of the Popes in the Sevent Century, in The History and the Lives of the Popes; Pope John IV from Zadar and the Mission of Abbot Martin in 641, in English (abstract) and full text in Croatian; Papa Giovanni IV, Papa Dalmata, in Italian, Sito independente u turismo, cutura e tradizione di Istria e Dalmazia; biography by Luigi Andrea Berto, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papai, Treccani; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico delgi italiani, Treccani; biography, in German; La cappella di S.Venanzio di papa Giovanni IV Dalmata: prima evidenza iconografica dei due Giovanni al Laterano, in Italian, in "La dedicazione della Cattedrale di Roma ai Santi Giovanni Battista e Giovanni Evangelista" by Andrea Lonardo (the pope is the first one from the left); detail of his image in the mosaic; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his engraving, IStockphoto; his engraving, Il Mercante in Asta; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his arms, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving, from the same source; another engraving, also from the same source; and his efffgy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

(1) Detoni, Giovanni IV. Papa dalmata, p. 22: "a very cultured man".
(2) Heresy which affirmed that Christ had only one will, divine, instead of two, one divine and one human, like the Church taught.

Top Consistories Catalogs Home

©1998-2014 Salvador Miranda.